The term “pitching” comes from baseball, referring to when one player delivers the ball towards the batter; in finance, it means to deliver your investment story. A strong investment pitch is very important and there are two ways in which you can pitch your early-stage company: the top-down and the bottom up.
Top down pitches grab the attention of potential investors by impressing them with the ultimate market size, moving from the opportunity to the product. On the other hand, bottom up pitches move from the story around a product and how they solve someone’s problem, only showing how the product fits into the overall market opportunities at the end. Both models have their uses, but generally the bottom up approach is preferred by investors, who want to understand the core value proposition of the business. Below are some handy guidelines that will help you successfully pitch your startup to potential investors.
Know your audience - Investors are your audience: they know about businesses and they are looking for the best opportunities. They have seen hundreds of pitch decks and they typically spend just a couple of minutes on each of them. To grab their attention, you need to highlight all the positive information about your project, whilst removing the clutter, making sure that they will remember the heart of it.
Sell yourself - To get noticed, you have to sell yourself. Describe what you are doing and the goals you have accomplished. Mention your previous successes, the most impressive things you have built, or an ambitious project that you have carried out in a short amount of time. Sell your technical ability providing specific evidence to back it up. This will prove that you are not scared about hard work and can deliver results.
Storytelling - Storytelling grabs the attention of the audience, and it is the most effective way to engage and establish an emotional connection with it. As an entrepreneur, you should talk about the overall story of your startup: nobody forgets a story and you will add meaning to your company vision and mission.
Introduce your team - For a lot of investors, the team is one of the most important factors when deciding whether to invest or not in a business. Include a headshot, title and relevant experience of your team members. Explain how the team was born and how the different skills of each member are complementary. Try to present a cohesive team to convince investors that your team has the skills needed to execute your vision.
Define your problem and solution - You have to clearly define the problem that your product or service solves and how it is a game-changer. Usually, it is not the entrepreneur who is better at solving the problem that wins, but the one that is better at explaining and communicating what exactly the problem is. Be specific, clarify who your target market is, define your solution and drive home why it’s better than current solutions and your competitors.
Show evidence of your traction - The concept of traction refers to the progress of an early-stage company and the momentum it gains as the business grow. As investors are looking for high-growth businesses, it’s important for a company to highlight the early traction that it has already obtained. To prove that, it’s important to track the business’s results or, if you are not yet able to report metrics, show that you understand their importance and that you will base your future decisions around these.
If what drives your business is a deep passion about what you are doing, it won’t be hard to transmit this enthusiasm to prospective investors. Good luck!